HARLEM — Police arrested three people in connection with the death of a 9-year-old girl, 10 years after she was killed.
The arrests came after bones found by a deer hunter in New Jersey in 2005 were identified as Jon-Niece Jones, who disappeared from Harlem in 2002.
The arrested people included the girl's aunt and uncle.
For years, Jon-Niece's remains had gone unidentified, leading investigators to dub the puzzling case simply “Baby Bones.”
Investigators took to “America's Most Wanted” in 2009 to ask for help, but the publicity failed to shed any light.
The case’s big break came this summer when Jon-Niece’ sister, Iyonna Jones, told the Administration for Children’s Services that her sister was killed in 2002, The New York Times reported.
New Jersey prosecutors leveled charges against Jon-Niece's 39-year-old aunt Likisha Jones, her uncle, James Jones, 35, and her aunt’s boyfriend Godfrey Gibson, 48.
The girl's short life was marked by regular neglect and abuse at the hands of her mother Elisha Jones, officials said. The mother died four months after her daughter.
Prosecutors believe Jones was killed on August 15, 2002, in her aunt’s Harlem apartment in the East River Houses complex, at 418 East 105th Street, according to the New York Times.
The three then drove with the girl’s mother to Upper Freehold, NJ, and dumped it in a wooded area just off the New Jersey Turnpike. They tried to cover their tracks by lighting a fire, prosecutors said.
“The family members of Jon-Niece Jones turned a blind eye to the constant physical and mental abuse this young girl endured for years,” Rick Fuentes, the superintendent of New Jersey’s State Police, said in a statement.
“Because of the hard work by investigators, these three suspects will now have to answer for their alleged unthinkable actions.”
The three are charged with hindering the apprehension of another person, tampering with evidence, obstructing justice, and conspiracy to commit a crime.